• Karen Seiger

Attention Francophiles and Foodophiles: Say Bonjour To Our New French Market

The farmers markets of Paris have been a major inspiration behind the Markets of New York City Guidebook and this blog. And now they’re here in New York – authentic, beautiful, and full of delicious, aromatic foods. The Paris markets are a treasure trove of fresh and prepared foods, as well as flowers, handmade soaps, and my favorite pine lozenges. I could watch the fishmongers for hours on end. The Bensidoun family runs over 80 farmers markets in Paris and the surrounding area, as well as the Vanves Flea Market. They also have several markets in New York State and Illinois, including the Chicago French Market, an indoor food pavilion.

This past weekend the Bensidoun Group launched their newest market in New York City on the small plaza next to the Apple Store on 9th Ave. in the Meatpacking District. We went on Opening Day this past Friday, and it was fun to see our friend Sebastien Bensidoun in action, greeting shoppers and vendors and managing the tent flaps to let the air flow through. The market itself is situated a block from the Chelsea Market, which, in my humble opinion, is an advantage for both venues. I have found that markets situated in close proximity to each other benefit from making it easy for shoppers to hop from one to the next, visiting multiple markets rather than just one. There is enough of a distinction between this twice-weekly outdoor market and the large venue that is Chelsea Market to minimize replication of foods. The new French Market also directly serves businesses and visitors in the Meatpacking District and the Far West Village, offering a fresh alternative for breakfast and lunch.

Another unique aspect that the Bensidouns bring to the New York market scene is their canopies. Throughout Paris, the red, white, blue and green canopies are the recognized symbol of the farmers markets. The Bensidouns use a proprietary system of mountings to connect the canopy poles directly to the pavement. They received permission from the city to install the same system on Chelsea Triangle. It is an ingenious set up that eliminates the need for weights and the threat of tents flying down the block when the wind kicks up.

The Bensidoun Group has pulled together an exciting array of food purveyors, most of whom are French or influenced by French food traditions. Hervé Katz makes traditional charcuterie from his kitchen in Queens. Céline Legros of Les Canelés de Céline creates delicious, mini French pastries, including pop-in-your-mouth canelés made from crepe batter with a crispy sugar glaze. Wave Hill Breads has baskets of fresh, artisanal French-style breads. Mille Feuille Bakery & Cafe provides a rainbow of macarons. One of the vendors that I found most innovative is North Winds Lavender Farm out of Pawling, NY. They offer deep purple dried and live lavender plants; jams, syrups, and scones flavored with lavender; cooking grade lavender buds; and lavender sachets. Big Girl Baking brings light, fluffy muffins and nut mixes, as well as a lovely array 0f gluten-free bakery treats. You can also take home fresh, super high quality roses from Ode á la Rose, guaranteed to outlast the flowers from your corner store. Kiernan Farm brings regional grass-fed meats, and several farms provide fresh produce.

While not every vendor in this market is French, the French can be proud of the quality and unique flavors of all the products. We sampled everything and carried home a totebag full of treasures, including all of the above plus a fresh mozzarella sandwich from Iron Tomato, Tierra Farm‘s organic almond maple butter, and Guyank Sweet Hot Pepper Sauce, a combination of Guyanese and Yankee flavors.

The Chelsea Triangle French Market runs 10AM – 3PM Fridays and Saturdays on 9th Avenue between 14th and 15th Street. Let me know what you think when you visit!

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© 2020 by Karen Seiger

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